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Friday, May 3, 2013

Ivory looks great on Elephant...... not as ornaments - it is illegal


Is Ivory trade legal ?  Ivory, the hard, white material derived from the tusks and teeth of animals, especially the mammoth elephant is very costly. It is used in art and manufacture.  It consists of dentine, a tissue that is similar to bone. It has been important since ancient times for making a range of items, from ivory carvings to false teeth, fans, dominoes and joint tubes. Ivory has many ornamental and practical uses. Prior to the introduction of plastics, it was used for billiard balls, piano keys, Scottish bagpipes, buttons and a wide range of ornamental items.  Whether it is costly or useful ~ it looks good on an elephant and is its body part, not an ornamental piece meant for your display…………..


The use and trade of elephant ivory is criminal and controversial, and this has contributed to seriously declining elephant populations in many countries.  The Asian elephant preceded its African cousin in becoming part of the endangered species.  In Jan 2012, raiders on horse back charged out of Chad into Cameroon slaughtering hundreds of elephants making it one of the worst concentrated killings since a global ivory trade ban was adopted in 1989.

In our own state, there was the poacher Veerappan dealing on sandalwood and ivory.  Miles away, in Auckland, New Zealand an interesting case is reported in Manukau District Court.  NZ Herald reports that an ivory trader told police that he knew elephants were being killed for their tusks but thought they would make a good investment. Jiezhen Jiang appeared at the Manukau District Court today where he pleaded guilty to eight charges of trading in endangered species without a permit. The charges - laid under the Trade in Endangered Species Act - carry a maximum term of five years in prison and a fine of $100,000.

Jiang was caught after Customs officers intercepted two parcels at the international mail centre. Both were addressed to Jiang's anglicised name "Kevin Jiang". Customs' officers raided his Mellons Bay property in October 2011 and found six other items made from the tusks of endangered African elephants. According to the police summary of facts, the 56-year-old retiree had his son set up an account on the online auction website eBay. Between May 2010 and September 2011, Jiang was a prolific online trader and bought 299 items including objects made of silver, bone china and ivory. Jiang said he had sold two ivory items to people in China through a website because they "were not of artistic value".

During an interview with authorities, he admitted bidding on and buying ivory items. He also said he bought others on Trade Me and sent them back to China. Jiang said he knew that trading in ivory was restricted in China but did not know there were rules in New Zealand as well. He told police that he knew elephants were being killed for their ivory but thought it would be a good investment because the ivory would increase in value.

Crown prosecutor Susanna Locke said she was aware Jiang would be making an application for a discharge without conviction but it is likely that would be opposed. Judge Gus Andree Wiltens remanded Jiang on bail for sentencing next month when the application for a discharge without conviction will be heard. Importing ivory into New Zealand is prohibited without a permit after New Zealand became one of the 175 countries to ratify the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna. As well as elephants, the convention also covers 5000 other animals and 29,000 species of plants. Buying and selling ivory within New Zealand is not prohibited, but as soon as someone wants to import or export ivory they need a permit.

According to Trade Me spokesman Paul Ford, the auction website allows older jewellery, pianos with ivory keys and retro butter knives with ivory handles to be sold. But animals and animal parts are on the restricted list, and raw ivory and newly harvested ivory cannot be sold. "We also wouldn't allow the sale of something with a significant amount of ivory," Mr Ford said. A quick search of Trade Me shows more than 160 ivory products for sale in the "Antiques" section, and at least one of them - a $1400 Chinese figurine - bears a close resemblance to an object that Jiang has pleaded guilty to importing. Mr Ford said the item in the auction was "relatively old" and there had been no complaints about it. [article courtesy :  http://www.nzherald.co.nz]

If you to ask whether the cargo could have had insurance cover or what would happen if a claim were to preferred under the policy covering such ivory in transit consigned to the buyer……..

The Marine Insurance Act is well codified and under definitions inter-alia, it has the following:-
(c) "insurable property" means any ship, goods or other movables which are exposed to maritime perils;
(d) "marine adventure" includes any adventure where-  
(i) any insurable property is exposed to maritime perils;……

Under the Section :  Lawful marine adventure: it states ‘Subject to the provisions of this Act, every lawful marine adventure may be the subject of a contract of marine insurance’ ~ thus there cannot be a Marine Insurance policy covering a marine adventure which is not lawful ~ though every other essential ingredient to the contract might exist. 

Away in US, there is much noise about ivory trading ~ not that of elephants….. but the trade of New Orleans Saints involving tailback Chris Ivory. The New York Jets are reportedly interested in signing Ivory as a restricted free agent, but they likely won't want to part with the second-round draft pick that would be required. Instead, if they decide they want Ivory, they will likely try to work out a deal with the Saints for a lower pick. Ivory's value is hard to judge for a number of reasons. He's shown incredible talent in glimpses, but he's also had trouble staying on the field because of various injuries.  If you have started wondering what this is about - Christopher Lee Ivory is an American football running back for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League. He was signed as a free agent by the Saints after the 2010 NFL Draft.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
3rd May 2013.

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